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BROMO-TENGGER-SEMERU NATIONAL PARK > Mount Penanjakan
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LOCATION:
Gunung Penanjakan can be accessed from the village of Tosari or Wonokitri. I rented a 4WD (jeep) from my hotel Bromo Cottages Hotel for Rp275.000 ($30) for round trip travel to Penanjakan (and then later to Bromo Crater before back to Tosari village for the complete journey). The journey usually starts at 0330 hrs from Tosari and the climb takes about 1 hour. The last portion of the journey should be done on walking for 15 minutes because of the narrow roads and lack of parking space at the top.

There are also trips conducted from either Pasuruan, Surabaya, Malang or Probolinggo, but the journey will start much earlier (you will spend a portion of your sleeping time in the car).

DESCRIPTION:

Gunung Penanjakan, at 2,770m is not exactly a volcano. Rather, it is a popular vista point for the unearthly view of the massive Tengger Caldera. At such height, the early morning air can be bitterly cold. I actually underestimated that with fairly light clothing and paid the price of having my fingers frozen, especially when snapping my digital camera.

The walk to the final point can be somewhat tiring (and yes, again, cold!). Before the viewing platform, there are plenty of local shops selling gifts, films, camera batteries as well as rental for jackets and sweaters. So, if you feel that your clothing is inadequate, you may need the extra layer of protection by renting a jacket.

The road to Penanjakan from Tosari is all paved but the journey still takes along narrow switchbacks and sharp bends. There is actually a park entrance just outskirt of Tosari, at which you need to step out to the counter to pay the national park's entry fee (quite minimal, something like Rp3.000 per person if memory serves me right).

The vista at the viewing platform is indeed spectacular. To the south, you will see the massive Tengger Caldera, inside which the Sea of Sands stretches as far as your eyes could see. Also within this ancient crater you can see Mount Bromo, Mount Batok, Mount Kursi and the majestic Mount Semeru in the far horizon. The view to the east is landscaped by Mount Argopuro (3,088m) and Mount Raung (3,332m), and if the weather is clear enough, you can see the western tip of Bali island.

As the sun rises and people starting to leave the viewing deck, try to look to the west where you can catch the glimpse of the twin peaks of Mount Arjuno (3,339m) and Welirang (3,156m) rising above the morning mist over the city of Malang. These volcanoes are considered inactive, although there are some sulphur (locally known as "belerang", from which the name Welirang is also derived from) collecting activities still take place.

MY VERDICT:
A must visit when in the national park. Spectacular view of the volcanoes.

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